The Kroger Co. is forming employment partnerships with local, regional and national businesses in other industries to ensure an undisrupted food supply chain and help displaced workers amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis.
Kroger said Friday the effort includes the creation of a shared-resource model with companies in hard-hit sectors — such as restaurants, hotels and foodservice distributors — to temporarily flex employees to Kroger roles.
The Cincinnati-based supermarket retailer’s partners currently include Frisch’s (restaurants), Marriott International (hospitality and foodservice), McLane Foodservice (food distribution), Shamrocks Food (foodservice distribution), Sysco (foodservice distribution), Thunderdome Restaurant Group (restaurants), US Foods (foodservice distribution) and Sodexo (foodservice and facilities management). The latter also includes SodexoMAGIC, Sodexo’s joint venture with pro basketball hall-of-famer Magic Johnson.
Over the next few weeks, Kroger plans to hire 20,000 more workers to bolster its ability to provide consumers nationwide with fresh food and key supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The retailer said it already has provided new career opportunities to more than 23,500 workers across country, including those in other business sectors.
“Kroger’s top priority continues to be uplifting our associates and serving our communities, whether that’s by ensuring customers always can find food and products on our shelves or by providing a nearly immediate job opportunity to help an unemployed person to begin working again,” Tim Massa, senior vice president and chief people officer at Kroger, said in a statement.
Kroger noted that, two week ago, the company expedited its hiring process, cutting the time from application and employment to onboarding new hires to an average of 72 hours. Jobs remain open across Kroger’s network of retail stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers, the company said, adding that the average hourly wage is $15, or $20 including comprehensive benefits.
“During this time of uncertainty, Kroger is committed to remaining a constant,” added Massa. “We have a responsibility to our associates, customers and communities, and we will continue to be here, for any need.”
Through its 20 regional/retail divisions, Kroger operates 2,753 food stores under such banners as Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC, City Market, Owen’s, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker’s, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick ‘n Save, Copps, Metro Market, Mariano’s, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less and Foods Co.